(urth) Thecla's "Identity"

Ross Arlen Tieken ross.a.tieken at gmail.com
Mon Apr 8 09:46:50 PDT 2013

You're more than welcome!
I would study good 'ol Julius, but he's doing something different with  
occultism by incorporating a strange un-Hindu Hinduism a la Blavatsky.
Also, talk about career suicide. I'm already skirting sudden death by  
studying anyone who was involved with nationalism... or Catholicism  
which is almost as bad to the post-modern academy. Evola would be a  
highway to hell in a handbag.
I also personally do not share his worldview and social critique  
although I recognize its power. I think too much self-reflexive  
occultism & esotericism is not a good thing; Orthodoxy is esoteric  
enough without pulling arcane antics. Again, Pound didn't see that-- 
Eliot certainly did, and so did the Catholic liturgical theologian Odo  
Casel. You should check out The Mystery of Christian Worship.
If I didn't know better, I'd say Wolfe had read Casel--that Severian,  
when he takes Thecla's body and the Autarch's body, is participating  
in the Christian Eucharist, along with Horn/Silk when he sacrifices at  
the Altar of the Neighbors in On Green's Jungles (of bread and wine?!  
Could you be any more clear, Gene?).
Wolfe has said that Severian "is a Christian," not an allegorical  
Christ figure. But it seems that Severian is so Christ-like... a  
savior, he carries a cross (Terminus Est; in English "It is the end."  
Christ's last words: Summatum Est "It is finished" [John 19:30]). But  
Severian, if he is a Christian (according to Odo Casel, Gregory Dix,  
and other orthodox Catholic Eucharistic theology), he is a member of  
Christ's mystical body! This, I think could help us understand Wolfe's  
assertion: Christ only came once, but His mystical body lasts for all  
time. Wolfe accidentally (or not accidentally, I can't decide which)  
engages with an ancient understanding of Christian worship constantly  
throughout the Solar Cycle. I actually don't see how it's possible to  
understand the Solar Cycle without looking at Wolfe's Catholic  
Modernist bent.
But anyway, Evola's not playing the same card game. Or at least , he's  
got some cards up his sleeve from a different deck.

Also, don't steal this without attributing me, please. I'm sharing  
this with y'all because this mailing list is such a wonderful idea.  
I'm writing something about this as we speak--and I'll give y'all a  
link when I'm finished.


Ross Arlen Tieken
Religious Studies
Rice University

On Apr 8, 2013, at 9:57 AM, António Pedro Marques wrote:

> No dia 06/04/2013, às 00:36, Ross Arlen Tieken <ross.a.tieken at gmail.com 
> > escreveu:
>> When I spoke of the Catholic modernists, I should have been more  
>> precise. The modernists all have weird spiritual proclivities.  
>> Eliot wasn't technically a Catholic either. I should have clarified  
>> what I meant: They all have a mystical bent, believe in strong  
>> authority, and are inspired by myth, myths, and mythic worldviews,  
>> and the middle ages. This leads to the accusation of fascism  
>> (correct in Pound's case, dubious in Eliot and Tate's, completely  
>> inappropriate in the case of Tolkien and Lewis) and to the strong  
>> stroke of nationalism and ethnic myth-making in these authors.  
>> Wolfe definitely shares these preoccupations. See http://www.thenightland.co.uk/MYWEB/wolfemountains.html 
>> ; an essay on the importance of Tolkien which begins with the  
>> sentence "There is one very real sense in which the Dark Ages were  
>> the brightest of times, and it is this: that they were times of  
>> defined and definite duties and freedoms." In this, he echoes a  
>> Chestertonian defense of the Middle Ages and Catholic civilization.  
>> I also see in Wolfe an implicit defense of Neo-Feudalism and a  
>> strongly relgion-centric worldview.
>> Pound was a bad fascist; he didn't understand that it depended upon  
>> the same assumptions that modernity did, and paid the price for it-- 
>> he failed to see the 'real' problem on which his contemporaries  
>> easily picked up; not just any mythos is good enough, there has to  
>> be real sticking power and it has to based in some kind of  
>> transcendent truth/experience and allow also for the intuitive  
>> human good. Fascism of course fails utterly at providing this, but  
>> Tolkien & Eliot's strong ethnic (non-racial) Traditionalism and  
>> mystical monarchism worked fine.
> Interesting. Do you analyze Evola as well?
>> This is what I'm writing on for my dissertation, and I thought  
>> about including Wolfe although he's a little out of the time  
>> period. It's coming back though, these mystical traditional neo- 
>> feudal myth-making monarchist distributist Catholic artists.
>> On Dan'l Danehy-Oakes note: Distributism is the Catholic economic  
>> theory; Marxism's assumptions about "the way stuff works" are  
>> absolutely not compatible with the Catholic vision of humanity--nor  
>> is fascism, or hyper-capitalism for that matter. Both depend on a  
>> pseudo-scientific reading of humans--Catholics sort of aren't up  
>> for that.
> Precisely (whether one admits to the pseudo or not, which I do of  
> course).
>> Distributism (championed by Chesterton and Belloc, later by Eliot  
>> and the Southern Agrarians in America) fulfills the requirements of  
>> Catholic anthropology while seeking to correct the culture-killing  
>> nature of transnational corporate capitalism. Look it up, tell me  
>> what you think.
>> Also, Wolfe is probably aware of Distributism and is a Catholic in  
>> good standing with the Church. http://ironicalcoincidings.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/inheriting-tolkien-pt-2-gene-wolfe/
> Thank you for the link.
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